As the Panama Canal is being built, yellow fever is decimating the folks building it, and a cure must be found!
November 17, 2012
Good Print, Fair Sound, Good Story, Very Entertaining
I thought this was a very entertaining movie, even up through the fevered scientist/psychedelic part.
It was a good mix of characters. The female scientist character (Dr. Sterne) was treated appropriately for the time the film was made. I thought the Japanese "assistant" character (Dr. Nogi)was treated very well considering the prejudices of the time -- and how he would have been characterized just a few years later. The senator was effectively made out to be an pompous, ignorant ass who was outshone by his beautiful daughter.
The critic below was correct in the respect that this film has some cultural significance and is an interesting document of its time. However, I disagree that it is a bomb. I found this film very entertaining and I was able to hear the dialogue well without speakers or headphones, except for when old Dr. Fontaine gives his soliloquy on his deathbed.
November 16, 2012
For Serious Film Buffs Only
You could write this off as a complete bomb and let it go at that and while the picture quality is terrible and in order to get the soundtrack anywhere near understandable you need to wear headphones (which I did incidently), the picture has some interesting parts and interesting acting. The beginning is very stark, but plays well thanks to Ralph Byrd, Edward Peil Sr, and Jason Robards Sr. in small but pivitol roles. Warner Richmond, and interestingly Snub Pollard bring talent and credibility to their supporting roles as well. Ian Keith (still with the amazing face) and Tala Barell are perfectly cast as an American and German doctors heading a team of international and perfectly stero-typical doctors in Panama trying to develop a cure for Yellow Fever. The romance is never really explored and while it's obvious the chemistry is there between the two, nothing much happens. The ending or near the ending I might say, gets the mad scientist treatment with Keith getting to flex his acting chops a little. Keith, a major star in silents, was a good actor and while he had a great voice, he never repeated his fame in sound pictures, but he did some very good work in supporting roles for years. If you are a died in the wool film buff and this may be the only copy of the film in existance, then I say watch it, otherwise just pass it on by as the apparent disaster it is.